It's that time of year where 18 year olds across the UK have just experienced that sickening feeling of being left by their parents in a dank uni room, with nothing but a few fairy lights to make it look homely. I'm nearly finishing the first term of second year, and I thought I'd look back on my first year, and share a few bits of advice of what I would and wouldn't do if I started all over again!
DON'T RELY ON FRESHERS FRIENDS
The people you meet in the first week, become best friends with, then never see again! The freshers friend eh! In the first week, you meet so many people, but when I look back I could tell who the ones were who I'd stay friends with, except at the time I was blinded by naievity, alcohol, and desperation. As the week went on and running on not a lot except wine and sweet potato caught up with me, I started having a few nights in and I noticed the invites to nights out started running low. But the people they were still coming from, I'm still friends with now. I definitely think in those early days it began to get to me that the people I was meeting weren't becoming my best friends overnight, and after I declined one invite they never spoke to me again. Looking back they weren't friends at all. They weren't bad people, and equally I've been a freshers friend to them, but it would have been better find good friends, rather than a lot of people to get drunk with.
This might sound like a bit of a lecture but eating well is so important for keeping going. I was self catered in my first year and I thought I had some cooking ability. My mum had spent ages trying to teach my some basic cooking skills but when my parents left me at university with myself and my cooker I thought 'what, I actually have to cook?'. So that reality hit me like a tonne bricks but now I'm thriving with my cooking, starting to make my own recipes and actually loving the whole cooking thing. I've come a long way since the bowl of roasted sweet potato I ate on the first night.
PUT MYSELF OUT THERE
I didn't. And I wondered why I had very few friends. Initially I was quite homesick and I didn't know what to do with myself. I kept busy with my firsts weeks timetable but was so overwhelmed by everything, so tired and emotional, I sort of shut myself off a little bit. My biggest regret of first year is not putting myself out there - just wish I'd have got over that hurdle of whatever it was that was holding me back in those first few weeks and gone for it. I wouldn't say I'm overly out there now, but I am myself, and I'm more comfortable with trying new things - I was so not like this in first year.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO SAY YOU'RE NOT OK
If in any other world you rocked up in a pretty grungy flat to live with complete strangers, spending your day listening to someone talk about something you thought you knew stuff about but realise you now know nothing about, sat with strangers making small take about whether you say 'scon or scone' you'd be like what they heck am I doing here, this is not the real world. Well that's exactly what you do at university. It's a strange and weird experience and I wish I'd have said I was struggling at times and I think I'd have struggled a lot less.
For those of you who are embarking on that first year and are hating things right now - You'll be fine! These feelings of horror will pass and you'll be OK in the end.